Safety 1st webinar series

Educational webinars presented by nationally recognized camp and child development experts.
Check back soon for the 2020 series!

2019 recorded webinars


MicPhoto of M. Brandweinhael Brandwein
to “Higher” Staff You’ve Hired: Practical & Powerful Techniques to Coach, Evaluate, Motivate, & Turbo-Charge Staff Performance
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Michael coined the term “Highering Staff” to mean supporting them in growing on the job. The most important job of the camp leadership team is to bring out the best work of our front-line staff. Team leaders must have terrific training every year to excel in this role, and this webinar will meet this need for you in an efficient way. Michael has assembled for us a special collection of his original tools and methods that camp team leaders can use right away to produce higher levels of staff performance. This session includes: Michael’ special GPS cards for coaching staff on a weekly basis; instantly solving the number one misconception about camp coaching and mentoring; how to get the whole staff team to focus on specific goals of outstanding leadership; reinforcing excellent staff behavior with greater credibility; preventing burnout; boosting responsibility; and more. The quality of our camps is defined by the quality of our staff’s behavior. This webinar will help you lead staff to your best season ever.


Photo of Dr. Deborah GilboaDr. Deborah Gilboa
How to put young people in jobs they're not ready for

Tuesday, April 16, 1:00 p.m. Eastern
We hire promising staff every year, and then give them leadership opportunities. We flex and shift our staff over the summer, putting teens and college students into jobs they've never done and need them to excel almost immediately.

Dr. G will talk about how to set our staff - new and returning - up for success in their new roles, and how to build next year's leadership staff this summer.

Dr. G has created a private page which contains the notes from her presentation as well as additional content. Follow the link below.  For more information and to contact Dr. Deborah Gilboa, visit her website:

Chris Thurber headshot

Dr. Chris Thurber
Waterfront safety design: Top ten ways to prevent accidents and injuries
Thursday, March 21, 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Certified guards and brand new kickboards are a good start, but preventing injuries and drownings at your waterfront requires careful design of the physical plant, as well as the procedures you use for instruction, accountability, maintenance, and site-specific training. In this compelling webinar, Dr. Chris Thurber will use personal photos and his 30 years of experience as a lifeguard and waterfront director to give participants 10 safety principles that have saved lives and limbs. Now is the time to refine your pre-season safety audit and lifeguard training goals.


Photo of Bob Ditter

Bob Ditter
New thinking about managing staff stress and anxiety at camp

Wednesday, February 13, 1:00 p.m. Eastern
The level of anxiety in campers and staff in the United States continues to be at epidemic proportions. More and more camp directors have reported having staff members who have had to leave camp early because of anxiety they felt they couldn’t manage. In this highly insightful and practical webinar, Bob will present all new material on the wave of anxiety plaguing our young people—anxiety that is impacting their ability to be at camp—what you can do about it.

In this Webinar, you will learn the following:

  1. Four critical contributors to high stress and anxiety among young people today
  2. The failures of many interventions among young people with anxiety
  3. A critical and practical approach to anxiety in youngsters
  4. Specific practices for managing one’s own anxiety
  5. Strategies and exercises to use with staff to help them manage their stress and anxiety
  6. A tool for helping staff think about how they cope with stress at camp


  • 2018 recorded webinars

    Photo of Bob Ditter

    Camp staff harassment safety in the age of #metoo
    by Bob Ditter

    It is a story that has been unfolding for over a year: the exposure of often long-standing sexual abuse and harassment of both male and female victims, by mostly men, in various positions of power. Camps have done a terrific job creating a safe environment for campers. What is needed now is a clear, nuanced approach with staff that distinguishes between healthy interest and unwanted advances, overtures, or worse. This timely webinar is targeted directly at staff, and Markel is inviting all camp professionals to participate. Additionally, the webinar will be recorded for those unable to attend the live presentation and available to show to your own staff during camp orientation. This program comes with a director’s training guide for creating a powerful, clear staff training program that has universal application to camps far and wide. Harassment is an issue that will be on the minds of staff everywhere. This thoughtful presentation and the training guide by Bob Ditter will help you be ready!


    Bob Ditter is a well-regarded child, adolescent, and family therapist from Boston, Massachusetts. He is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant for organizations that work with young people. He has been called “camping’s most articulate spokesman” because of his work with children’s summer camps since 1982. He has visited over 600 summer camps in the United States, has authored four books for camp professionals, and has developed 14 training DVDs.  Bob’s materials are available at:

    Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Discovering Staffing Strategies That Work
    Tuesday, November 13 by  Kim Aycock and Deb Jordan

    Let’s face it! Yesterday’s hiring practices aren’t achieving the results needed to get staff to work at camp in today’s world. Stack the odds in your favor by understanding the latest staffing trends and taking a look at promising practices for recruiting and hiring. Learn initial findings from ACA’s Task Force, Project Real Job, to help overcome the realities of filling staff positions and focus your energy with effective tactics for this year's hiring season!


    Kim Aycock, MSTKim Aycock, MST, has 30+ years of experience blending the skills of a master teacher with the knowledge of a seasoned camp expert. She trains camp staff at all levels and speaks professionally at regional and national conferences. Kim has the ability to connect with and motivate learners of all ages through her interactive and innovative presentations. Kim can be contacted at:  and Camp 2 Campus Learning Solutions.


    Deb JordanDeb Jordan, Re.D., is a professor and Department Chair in the Recreation and Leisure Studies program at East Carolina University and deeply involved in the camp world. Deb is an active author having written three textbooks (leadership, programming, and an introduction to leisure), over 40 articles and book chapters, and more than 30 technical research reports. Deb conducts staff trainings and makes presentations on diversity, leadership, and ethics across the country. She is an energetic speaker who believes that people best learn by doing; thus, her sessions tend to be interactive and engaging. Deb can be contacted at 

    Deb and Kim are the co-leaders of ACA's Task Force, Project Real Job, whose purpose is to examine issues related to summer camp employment and to support efforts to recruit, hire, and retain summer staff and position summer camp employment as a valuable workforce readiness experience. 

    What high-performance managers do differently and why it matters
    Wednesday, October 10 by Dr. Jennifer Selke
    Great managers are the cornerstone of every organization. Yet less than one-third of Americans are engaged in their jobs in any given year. Learn what decades of research says about what makes a great manager. Learn how focusing on the 12 needs every staff member increases staff engagement and retention. Make a plan to take your next steps to create a high performing team.


    Dr. Jennifer SelkeDr. Jennifer Selke is dedicated to helping people find jobs they love that best utilize their strengths and to helping companies engage workers for maximum impact and value. Since 2003, she has used Gallup’s strengths-based management model to successfully manage one of the nation's largest summer camp programs at the University of California at Berkeley, employing approximately 150 high school and college students each summer. Jennifer’s expertise on the millennial generation including its culture, trends, the latest research focusing on this group and its future implications for employee engagement, motivation, retention, and workplace adaptations.

    Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP #2858) and is on the faculty in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California at Berkeley. Her services involve direct coaching programs and workshops geared toward helping recent college graduates and high potential employees excel in the workplace.

    With a background in training large groups (200+) of summer camp staff, Jennifer excels in providing dynamic, learner-centered, and experiential workshops for both large and small groups.

    Developing high-potential individuals to become the next generation of thought leaders is not only Jennifer’s mission but her passion. In addition to supporting a large staff at UC Berkeley, She is also a featured facilitator with BRAND U Events, a talent accelerator working with young professionals in Fortune 500 companies and media agencies.


  • Past webinar topics
    • Managing anxiety in campers, staff, and parents - Dr. Deborah Gilboa
    • It’s a real job! Developing more professionalism in staff and handling undesired staff behavior - Michael Brandwein
    • Engaging millennials: 10 essential strategies for camp directors - Dr. Chris Thurber
    • Managing staff anxiety: Techniques and practices for coping with the stress staff bring to the job and the stress staff experience on the job! - Bob Ditter
    • Beyond your comfort zone - Dr. Deb Bialeschki, Ph. D and Rhonda Mickelson, M.Ed.
    • Evaluating staff performance --considerations for rehiring - Bob Ditter
    • Preparing for risks of summer camp - Michael Swain, ARM, SCLA, Sr. Loss Control Specialist for Markel Specialty Commercial
    • Supervision and staff oversight --The key to safety at camp. Creating a culture of warm and cool feedback. - Bob Ditter
    • Bullying is normal, what matters is what we do next - Dr. Deborah Gilboa
    • Leading the leaders: How to motivate and develop leadership team members to boost excellence and responsibility - Michael Brandwein
    • Are your staff thinking or drinking? How to encourage wise use of time off - Dr. Chris Thurber
    • The growth mindset of camps --Developing a culture where curiosity and learning enhance performance in campers and staff alike - Bob Ditter
    • Are these on your radar? Hot legal and risk management issues for camps - Catherine Hansen-Stamp
    • Improved techniques for managing challenging camper behavior - Bob Ditter
    • Powerful, simple things to do right now to prepare your camp for a superb 2016 - Michael Brandwein
    • Real techniques, leadership and coaching strategies for effecting change with campers and staff - Dr. Chris Thurber
    • Cracking kids' secret code - Dr. Chris Thurber
    • Camp crises - Dealing with the "Big Four" - waterfront, vehicles, sexual misconduct, and foodborne illnesses - Firestorm
    • Managing challenging camper behavior - Bob Ditter
    • What makes a good camp counselor? It's not what you think!- Scott Arizala
    • Motivation: What works and what doesn’t with campers and staff - Bob Ditter
    • Designing your camp’s electronics technology policy - Dr. Chris Thurber
    • Waterfront safety design: Top ten tips in action - Dr. Chris Thurber
    • Lights out!...Don’t stay in the dark about abuse risks at your camp - Praesidium
    • Critical elements of leadership and communication - Bob Ditter
    • Evaluating staff performance: Considerations for rehiring - Bob Ditter
    • Sound practice—What we’ve learned from years of good practice - Bob Ditter
    • Responding to challenging camper behavior in ways that are proactive and creative - Bob Ditter
    • Critical elements for staff training - Bob Ditter
    • Snips and snails and puppy dog tails: The ‘boy code’ and bullying at camp - Bob Ditter
    • Sugar and spice, not always so nice: Why girls are mean to other girls and what to do about it - Bob Ditter
    • Camper-counselor contact—Part 2: Challenges of technology and contact out of camp - Bob Ditter
    • Camper-counselor contact—Part 1: Basics of child protection at camp - Bob Ditter